4 tips for the Fourth of July

We, humans, think of fun, food, and fireworks when celebrating the fourth of July. But for our furry friends, it can be a little overwhelming and full of dangers.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Food + Drink:
    • While a cold one in hand can be a relaxing way to enjoy the holiday, make sure your canines don’t steal a sip. Alcohol intoxication in pets can lead to weakness, respiratory failure, and even death.  
    • Certain foods that accompany festivities can be toxic to our four-legged pals. Chocolate, onions, coffee, grapes, and avocados can be yummy for humans, but not so great for our fur friends. Beyond the Fourth of July, we’ve got a list of 16 things you should definitely never feed your pet.
  • Heat:
    • Summer in Texas is not just hot for us but also for our canine companions. Dogs maintain body temperature by panting and through specialized sweat glands. To keep them cool, keep them out of the sun and ensure they are well hydrated by always having water on hand. 
  • Loud noises:
    • The Fourth of July is notorious for being the leading time of year for lost pets. Fireworks can cause animals to run away or break from their leashes. Consider bringing your cats + dogs inside and locating a safe, escape-proof room or crate where it will be the most comfortable place for them. To be safe, make sure your pets have secure collars and identification tags.

Preparing in advance:

  • Make sure your pets – cats and dogs alike – have identification tags with up-to-date information. If you have horses, you might consider marking a safety (breakaway) halter with your contact information and leaving it on your horse during this stressful time.
  • If your pets aren’t already microchipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. This simple procedure can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.
  • If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information in the microchip registry is up-to-date.
  • Take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs, and horses – just in case.
  • If your pet has historically been anxious on this holiday, or if you have reason to expect potentially harmful reactions, consider behavioral therapy to desensitize your pet and reduce the risk of problems. Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.

Safety during July 4 celebrations:

  • Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
  • Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.

After the celebrations:

  • Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.